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Pioneers open golf campaign this week in Johnson City

Pioneers open golf campaign this week in Johnson City

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University men's golf team will open the fall portion of its 2019-2020 schedule this week as the Pioneers compete at the Mars Hill Invitational, which will be held on Monday and Tuesday at the Johnson City Country Club.

TU head coach Ross Cash returns nine lettermen from last year's team who finished eighth at the South Atlantic Conference Championship.  This season's roster-breakdown includes three seniors, three juniors, five sophomores and one freshman.

Back from last year's club is team most valuable player Kyle Engelbert who carded a 75.8 scoring average which was the lowest on the squad as a true freshman.  The Fort Worth, Texas sophomore accounted for five top-20 finishes including twice in the top-10 as he finished sixth at the Bob Dibble Classic in his collegiate debut and ninth at the Tusculum Invitational.  He earned a spot on the SAC All-Tournament Team with his seventh-place showing at the Conference Championship as he tallied a 54-hole total 216 including a season-best 69 in the opening round.

Junior Liam Sweeney was second on last year's team with his 76.4 stroke average as he placed in the top-20 on five occasions including three times in the top-10 and twice in the top-five.  He finished runner-up at last year's Mars Hill event, which was cut short due to weather as he shot an even par 72.  The Palos Park, Illinois product also tied for fourth place at the Bob Dibble Classic and ninth at the Tusculum Invitational.

Noah Jones was third on the team with a 76.7 scoring average finishing four times in the top-20 and three top-10 outings.  Jones, a native of Maryville, Tennessee, enjoyed his best finish at the Buccaneer Spring Classic last March as he tied for fourth with 36-hole total 140 including a final round 66.  He also finished fourth at the Tusculum Invitational and seventh at The Battle at Hilton Head.  During the summer, he fired a personal-best round of 60.

Greeneville senior Matt DiBella was one of only two players (Sweeney) to play in all 10 tournaments last year for the Pioneers. The Walters State transfer posted a 77.0 scoring average with four top-20 finishes and two top-10 showings including a third-place finish in his TU debut at the Dibble Classic. He finished seventh at the Tusculum Invitational and tied for 13th place honors at the Walters State Fall Classic.

Junior Jeffery Perez played in six tournaments last spring as the Black Hawk College transfer finished with a 77.3 average.  He finished runner-up at the Tusculum Invitational with 71-72=143 following a 19th-place outing at the Buccaneer Spring Classic.

Senior Hunter Chandley is back for his final collegiate season as the Johnson City, Tennessee product posted a 76.4 average in his three tournaments.  Chandley has logged 16 competitive rounds in his career at Tusculum including his ninth place finish at last year's Dibble Classic.

Former Tusculum baseball first-baseman John Bennett also returns as a member of the senior trio.  The Forest City, North Carolina native tallied an 83.3 average in his two tournaments a year ago.

Junior Bennett Noe (Knoxville, Tenn.) appeared in three tournaments last season as the finished with a 78.2 average including a 15th place finish at the Dibble Classic.  His play of late has been noticeable as he posted a 2-0-1 record at the Dibble Match Play exhibition last month at Graysburg Hills Golf Club.

Greeneville sophomore Jordan Williams appeared in four tournaments as a rookie a year ago and finished with a 78.3 stroke average. He finished 13th at the Dibble Classic and 12th at last year's Mars Hill Invitational.

Sophomore Nicholas Marchese will be slated to play for the Pioneers in the spring semester after transferring from Palm Beach Atlantic University where he was ranked 28th in NCAA Division II with his 71.19 average.  The Bolton, Ontario native was three-time Golfer of the Year at his prep school at Villanova College where he boasted an impressive golf and academic resume.

Two newcomers to the Tusculum team this year are Mark Healy and Marko Jokic.  Healy, a sophomore from Cork, Ireland, is expected to be in the starting five this week at the MHU Invitational.  Jokic, a freshman from Novi Sad.

The Pioneers will play in four tournaments this fall including the Mars Hill Invitational this week, followed by next week's King Invitational (Sep. 23-24), State Farm Intercollegiate (Oct. 7-8) and Walters State Fall Classic (Oct. 14-15).  Tusculum will play in five tournaments in the spring and culminated by the SAC Championship at Woodlake Golf Club in Tazewell, Tennessee.

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"TUSCULUM WILL PREPARE STUDENT-ATHLETES TO BECOME PRINCIPLED LEADERS WHO ARE CONTRIBUTING CITIZENS AND CHAMPIONS IN LIFE BY INSTILLING THE HIGHEST VALUES OF CHARACTER, INTEGRITY, AND SPORTSMANSHIP."

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